CrimeaSOS: in two years, the russian federation transferred at least 55 political prisoners from Crimea

19 / 01 / 2024

Since February 2022, at least 55 victims of politically motivated persecution from Crimea have been transferred by the occupation authorities to prisons and penal colonies on the territory of the russian federation. This was reported by the analyst of the NGO “CrimeaSOS” Yevhenii Yaroshenko.

According to Yevhenii, some political prisoners were staged in very remote places (for example, Chelyabinsk region or Krasnoyarsk territory); relatives and lawyers of political prisoners almost have no opportunity to visit them. 

On January 18, another political prisoner, Arsen Abkhairov, was transferred. This was reported by Azize Abkhairova, Arsen’s wife. From the prison in Yeniseysk (Krasnoyarsk Territory), the Crimean Tatar was sent to a strict regime colony in Buryatia. In total, Arsen spent two years in the Yeniseysk prison.

The Southern District Military Court (Rostov-on-Don) sentenced Arsen to 13 years in prison. The 2 years that Abkhairov spent in the pre-trial detention centre should have been counted in this term. However, this period was not counted in the prison term. In September 2023, Arsen’s defence tried to appeal the court’s decision, pointing out that the political prisoner should have left prison long ago and serve his term in a strict regime colony. However, the appeal was not satisfied.

Yevhenii Yaroshenko said that Arsen Abkhairov and 106 other Ukrainian citizens in the occupied Crimea were illegally persecuted on charges of acts that are not crimes under Ukrainian law.

Arsen Abkhairov and two other members of the “Hizb ut-Tahrir Krasnohvardiiske group” were detained in February 2019. Arsen was accused of involvement in the Islamic political party Hizb ut-Tahrir. Together with him, Rustem Emiruseinov and Eskender Abdulhaniiev were sentenced to 17 and 12 years of imprisonment, respectively.

Even if residents of the occupied territory committed a crime, Art. 76 of the IV Geneva Convention provides that “persons accused of offences shall be detained in the occupied country, and if convicted they shall serve their sentences therein”. Deportation of civilians, including prisoners, outside the occupied territory is a war crime.

The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly confirmed the right of a prisoner to respect for family life. Therefore, the prison management should help a prisoner maintain communication with close relatives. In turn, the refusal to transfer the applicant to a prison located closer to where relatives live violates the right to respect for family life

We shall remind you that russia also forcibly transferred the Crimean political prisoners Nariman Dzhelial, Aziz and Asan Akhtemov from Crimea to its territory. It became known on October 2, 2023. Moreover, for several weeks, the wife was not given any information about the whereabouts of Nariman Dzhelial. 

Source of the image: “Crimean Solidarity”.


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